Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Absolutely Run of the Mill, Most Probably

Vodkapundit points to an NRO piece by Myrna Bythe on her recent attendance at a Columbia Journalism School First Amendment breakfast. The kicker comes later, but something I found interesting comes first.:
The moderator, as usual, was lawyer and Columbia journalism professor Floyd Abrams, and he started the proceedings with a couple of personal anecdotes. First of all, he recalled his most famous First Amendment triumph, the "Pentagon Papers" case. He described Chief Justice Warren Berger's dissenting opinion, which he quoted in part, as a "whine." Then he went on to tell a long anecdote about a Fred Friendly panel, sometime in the past, that included Peter Jennings, Mike Wallace, and a wounded Vietnam veteran.

Abrams recalled that Friendly, as he often did, presented the panel with a hypothetical scenario that there was a civil war between the northern and southern sections of an unnamed country, with America helping the southern forces. An American journalist, to his surprise, was invited to go on patrol with the northern forces. While on the mission, the journalist realized the northern forces intended to attack a group of Americans. What should the journalist do?

Peter Jennings, Abrams recalled, said he hoped he would have the courage to call out and warn the American troops. But Mike Wallace interrupted to admonish Jennings, asking, "Peter, why are you there?," implying that as a journalist he should not get involved. Abrams said Jennings then began to backtrack on his answer. The only comment of the wounded veteran who was on the panel was: "I always knew you guys were like that."
That was one in a series of round-table discussions called Ethics in America that ran on PBS. I've seen that particular one, and I have to say I don't think I've ever been more disgusted with journalists than I was that day.

But the part that Vodkapundit found apparently shocking was this excerpt:
The panel member who, one would have thought, would have the most to say about the subject of a "reporter as citizen" was Mary Beth Sheridan. But, she explained, she hadn't realized she would have to make a speech at the breakfast, and that her remarks about her experiences in Iraq would be just "free-flowing" — and, indeed, they were.

First of all, she said she was "overwhelmed by the military," but she did learn by being embedded that members of our armed forces were not "blood-thirsty maniacs." Yes, she really did say that.

In fact, she said, they were "really decent people." And even "sweet." Of course, after being shot at they were eager to shoot back — a military attitude that seemed to surprise her.

She also reported that when she asked soldiers why were they in Iraq, every single one told her, "to help the Iraqi people." Again she was surprised that the military could create such a unity of purpose even though, she said, she didn't see any "brainwashing" going on. She also noted that many soldiers had no opinion about the war. They had gone where they were ordered to go, like all good soldiers. Such an attitude seemed to dazzle her as well.

She didn't have anything much to say about "reporters as citizens," but clearly she appeared to be one citizen who had very little familiarity with, or understanding of, or even quite possibly respect for the military before her tour of duty. In a way, it is kind of sad that only after some first-hand experience did she learn what most American citizens believe: that American soldiers are "decent people." And that it is those soldiers, not our journalists, after all, who protect our freedom of the press.
Vodkapundit asks:
Just how typical an example of the MSM press corps is Sheridan, anyway?
Absolutely run-of-the-mill, as far as I can tell.

As I said in Fear, the only thing that can work to dispell the ignorance and erroneous beliefs of people is direct exposure to that which they irrationally hate and fear. Mary Beth Sheridan got that exposure, and it rocked her world, apparently. I wonder if she had a bit better understanding of Marine Lt. General Mattis's comment about it being "fun to shoot some people" now.

Read Vodkapundit's post, and all of the very funny comments. It's worth your time.

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